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Click to enlargeSonic Alchemy<br>(Book)

SONIC ALCHEMY: Conversations with Leading Sound Practitioners. Written by Joshua Leeds.

Published 1997 by InnerSong Press. Sausalito, CA.
300 pages. ISBN: 0965778606

"Music and sound for the enhancement of human function" makes a bold claim. As the banner statement of this book, it is designed to catch your attention, to appeal to your inquiring mind. Why should you care about the effects of sound? Because it has been proven that sound, in musical or other manifestations, can either 'charge' or 'discharge' your nervous system. What does that mean to you?That you can consciously use sound to enhance your life.

As a composer and record producer, Joshua Leeds researched the inner components of sound and the physiology of the ear/brain mechanism. As Leeds delved into the study of sound, he found there was no curriculum. Consequently, he sought out his own teachers; women and men who think, practice, and dwell in the bedrock of vibration and frequency. The wealth of their ideas is presented in a dozen interviews. Additionally, the rudiments of soundwork are explored. These include resonance, entrainment, and sonicneuro technologies.

The intention of Sonic Alchemy is to trigger your imagination and encourage your explorations. Leeds believes a sizable leap in the use of subtle energy modalities, including sound, will take place through the advancement and synergy of methods discussed herein.

Table of Contents

Introduction to Soundwork
The Nutrients of Sound: The Lost Chord; Music Therapy/Sound Therapy; Trading in the Currency of Sound; Sound Sleuth; Sonic Alchemists.

Part I -- The Hierarchy of Sound

Chapter One -- Entrainment
All Aboard!; Rhythm-The Pulse of Life; Resonance and Entrainment; Resonating With a Twist; Grandfather Clocks of 1665; Entrainment: Who Owns It?

Chapter Two -- Demystifying Binaural Beat Frequencies
What are they? How do they Work?; The Monroe Institute; Whole Brain Synchrony; Brainwaves; Soundwaves; The Rules of Entrainment; Sympathetic Resonance; Binaural Beats; Frequency Following Response.

Chapter Three --The Tomatis Method: Frequency Medicine for the 21st Century
Turning the World on it's Ear; The Ear In Utero; The Tomatis Method; Brain/Mind Enhancement; Dr. Ron Minson, A Healer for the Future; Letting the Sonic Waters Soothe; Vibration, Frequency and Sound.

Part II -- The Sonic Alchemist

Chapter 4 -- Therese Schroeder-Sheker; Music for the Dying
Music-Thanatology; The School; St. Patrick Hospital; The Monks of Cluny; The Chalice Process; The Transition Process; Twenty Years of Death-Bed Vigils; How the Dying Accept Music;The Spiritual Work of Dying; The Contemplative Musician; Indian Medicine; Cross-Cultural Use of Music-Thanatology; Musical Midwifery; Harps and Healing Music; The Future of the Chalice Project; Monasticism.

Chapter 5 -- Fred Schwartz, M.D.; Music as Anesthesia
You Want to Record My What?; Resistance; Womb Sounds; Womb Sounds and Adults; Where's it all Going?; It's Pretty Loud in There!

Chapter 6 -- Michael Jones; Intention and Music
Music, Prisons and Hospices; Music that Opens the Healing Heart; Intentionality.

Chapter 7 -- Jeffrey Thompson, D.C.; Bio-Tuning
The WHO I THINK I AM Syndrome; Sound and Chiropractic; Brainwaves Research; Fundamental Frequencies.

Chapter 8 -- Tom Kenyon; Psychoacoustics
The Tonal Matrix; The Danger of Brainwave Technology; Personal Effects; The Future of Sonic Brainwave Technology

Chapter 9 -- Vickie Dodd; Awakening the Amnesia of Wellness
The Well Cell; History of a Clairaudiant; Teaching the Geometry of Sound; Treating Abuse; Treating Grief; The Momentum of Therapeutic Sound.

Chapter 10 -- Arthur Hull; The Power of the Drum
Entraining or is that Train-Wrecking?; The Power of the Gun (goon), Go, and Pa; Following the Heartbeat to the Beginning of Time; Percussionitis; or I Gotta Drum...

Chapter 11 -- Janalea Hoffman; Entrainment
Musical Biofeedback; Entrainment-Holism at the Highest Degree; Entrain What?; Entrainment and Pain; Entrainment in the Future; Music and Co-dependency; Musical Acupuncture; Rhythmic Medicine.

Chapter 12 -- Jonathan Goldman; The Power of Harmonics
Frequency Shifts; Resonant Frequencies; Rediscovering an Old Science; Intentionality; Neuro-Synaptic Harmonics; Interdimensional Windows; The Call of Sound Healing.

Chapter 13 -- Michael Stevens; Light & Sound Machines
What Was That, Anyway?; Motivation for L/S Machines; L/S and the Medical Establishment; Creating an Environment to Get Away; History and Use of L/S; The Future of L/S; Final Thoughts; The Long Arm of the FDA.

Chapter 14 -- Molly Scott, Ed.D; Resonance Therapy
Birth of a New Therapy; Kelly; Defining Resonance Therapy; The Voice; Annie; Entrainment in RST; Elena; Tuning with the Voice; The Human Technology of Singing; Vocal Sounding and Trauma; Sound Awareness; A Complimentary Therapy; Sonic Boundaries; Ethical Standards; Light/Sound Neuro-Technologies; Teaching Soundwork; Primary Contributions; The Future of Sound Therapy.

Chapter 15 -- Robert Gass, Ed.D.; Chantmaster Extraordinaire
We're Talkin' Chants Here; The Effect of Chant; Is it Healing Music?; Sacred Music; The Triggers of Music; Transformational Consulting.

Part III Epilogue and Appendices
A. Core Beliefs of Alfred Tomatis
B. Interview Resource Information
C. Soundwork Resources
D. Recommended Reading

EXCERPT: The Sonic Alchemist Inner Views

As a research journalist, writing feature columns for a trade magazine, I traveled America from 1991-1996 with tape recorder in hand. I named the columnA Sympathetic Vibration; Music and Sound in the Healing Arts.

Twenty articles into the investigation, I realized that soundwork generates the enhancement of many facets of human function besides healing. The myriad approaches to the utilization of soundwaves represent a wealth of diverse and often divergent theory. While many network their resources, some practitioners simply dismiss contributions of others. Within the field, I found there to be as much ego, politics, and proprietary considerations as in any other venue trod by humans.

Fortunately, I found a unique approach. As a producer and composer, I came with no vested interest or opinion to defend. I brought enthusiasm and eager questions. Therefore, as an advocate of the entire field, I was warmly received and taken into the heart of each worker’s labor. Hence, this retrospective of inner views are intimate portraits of their life work. I tender my deep appreciation for the trust placed in me. These soundworkers are my teachers.

Inevitably however, I have become a practitioner of soundwork. With answers gleaned from many questions, rich rewards bring me full circle to psychoacoustic producing and composing. Beyond music, I now paint with sound. I understand the dynamically subtle and diffusive effects sound and music can visit upon the psyche and nervous system. For me, musical ‘product’ has now evolved into powerful sonic tools for the enhancement of life’s activities.

Snapshots in Time

My list of Sonic Alchemists of necessity is short. Every day new developments occur in the field. Each time I think I have a map of the territory, I learn of some extraordinary new work. Today, I was told about an osteopathic surgeon who runs a hospital with a piano in every treatment room. An accompanying classical musician seeks the right tempos and styles while the doctor measures the effects on the patient’s nervous system through measurement of the cranial-sacral fluid.

A few months ago, I visited a clinic in Tiajuana, Mexico, which draws chronically ill patients, many with cancer, from around the world. The primary modality of treatment: sound frequencies through headphones.

Altogether experimental, soundwork is a magnet for exploration. Though research funding is basically non-existent, none seem deterred. Like artists universally,soundworkers must do this work.

Within these pages, twelve extraordinary practitioners share their discoveries and the core of their work. Remember, these conversations took place in a given time and place. Subsequently, some soundworkers have expanded to such a degree that their current work bears little resemblance to the sentiments on these pages. I believe, however, there is wealth inside the developmental process of a methodology. I continue to find value each time I read these thought-provoking and enlightening snapshots in time.

(c) 1997 Joshua Leeds. All rights reserved.

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